After stumbling up and down 23rd Street in confusion for twenty minutes I realized I was on the wrong damned street and finally walked two blocks east to Cinema 21 to meet with my group of friends, who were in line and about to enter the theater. Dan Savage was standing to the side with his perfect hair, chatting with someone as we walked in. We were handed ballots and found a cluster of seats where we could all sit together. A friend and I finished the cocktail I'd snuck in. I got us a couple of beers from the bar as Savage stood at the front of the theater and gave the introduction to the festival.
This was the second year that Portland was included in the HUMP! amateur porn festival, which originated in Seattle in 2005. Attendees vote on the sexiest, kinkiest, and funniest films, as well as the “best of show,” awarding the winners with a nice chunk of change and a lifetime of bragging rights. The festival includes entries from both Portland and Seattle. Once again it wasn't made clear which city the individual films came from. Some of the films made it obvious by showing a recognizable location or merchandise from a local business, but it was impossible to identify the origin of many them. This was a source of frustration for the audience, causing much confused murmuring during the show. I can only assume this information is purposely withheld to make the voting more even-handed. I don't know about Seattleites, but Portlanders are fiercely community-oriented, so of course we want films from our city to win.
The festival opened with a lesbian film in which a fully clothed, tough-looking chick slapped the shit out of a naked, doe-eyed beauty. Then the tough chick unzipped her fly, pulled her cock out, and went to town, spanking and slapping the other woman all the while. I was impressed with the brutality of the scene. Many people in the audience were gasping at some of the slaps. This film won my vote for “kink.”
The next film opened with a cute girl working in a porn shop (possibly Spartacus?). From there she went to a club I recognized as the Rose City Strip and ended up getting it on with a stripper. Then there was a guy, and they were all banging on the pool table and the couch, and there was also a purple alien blowup doll in the mix for some reason. It was a nice combination of sex, cool music, and humor, and it was a pleasant reminder of how awesome Portland strip clubs are.
The film “Drained Balls” featured a sex scene on a pinball machine in a living room with a roommate standing to the side casually eating cereal and watching. This one earned my vote for “best sex.”
I believe my vote for “funniest” went to “The Nun and the Bum,” in which a nun fucked a homeless guy's urethra with a crucifix for what seemed like a very, very long time. That wasn't really funny in and of itself, but the absurdity of the whole situation was pretty fucking hilarious.
Other notable films included a funny gay Mad Men spoof, a very cool “fire play” demonstration, and a clever story about a girl who used her boyfriend's camera to take pictures of herself cheating on him in his own apartment.
Most of the entries this year were on the humorous side, rather than sexy. I heard many of the people who were coming to the festival for the first time say that they thought it was going to be more hardcore. Those of us who went last year agreed that it seemed a lot more toned-down this time around. “No hooks in the ass this year,” I complained. Of course, since the festival depends on people submitting content, it's really up to us to give them more hardcore films if that's what we want to see.
Afterward we ran across the street to the Gypsy to pee, and somehow our group ended up stuck there in the vortex for hours. The drinks kept flowing, and I was nicely lubricated by the time I took the stage to perform my karaoke song. “This is for everyone who went to HUMP! tonight!” I shouted, and there was a smattering of cheers from around the room. I took a swig of beer, and in my best gravelly old man voice I sang, “THERE'S A RED HOUSE OVER YONDER, GIRL, THAT'S WHERE MY BABY STAYS!”
As I continued to sing, a thin girl I'd never seen before approached the stage. “WAIT A MINTUE SOMETHING'S WRONG HERE, THE KEY WON'T UNLOCK THE DOOR,” I shouted, and the girl extended her hand and ran her fingers down my chest. “I GOT A BAD, BAD FEELING THAT MY BABY DON'T LIVE HERE NO MORE!”
By the time I finished the song the girl had disappeared into the anonymity of the crowded bar. I sat down with my group in our corner booth, ordered another drink, and said, “Next year. Next year I'll make a movie for sure.”
As of this posting the HUMP! votes are still being tallied. The winners will be posted on the Stranger and Mercury blogs by Friday.
UPDATE: The winners are posted here!